[time-nuts] RS232 / GPS interface/prototyping board
holrum at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 22 16:33:15 EDT 2016
Yes, I always do a cost/benefit check when ordering boards. For small boards (say less than 4-6 sq inches) when I need three or less, OSHPARK is pretty much always the way to go. For larger boards / quantities, Dirty PCBs (or gojgo.com) come out ahead... even with DHL express shipping. With express shipping, gojgo.com gets boards in my hands in eight days... faster than OSHPARK. You can pay all three places quite a bit extra to shave a couple of days off the fab time.
I seem to be using OSHPARK less and less. It seems I always wind up wanting more than three boards even for what was planned to be a one-off build.
Also, I just got an email from OSHSTENCILS.com They now do 4 mil stainless steel stencils for around $1.25 per sq/inch. If your board uses devices with teeny-weenie features, stainless works better than Kapton (better paste release properties), plus has no wear-out / tearing issues. I have a desktop mill with a 405nm 1W laser and usually cut my own stencils out of red vellum paper. The kerf size is in the 10 micron range... it does not cut Kapton well, or stainless at all.
The value, quality, and turn-around from all these places is amazing. In the olden days, one was paying $50 a square inch for a single prototype board with 4 week turn-around.
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